‘Living robots’ created from stem cells

Rise of the machines?

Douglas Blackiston, Sam Kriegman

Sponsored Content

A team of scientists have created what they say are the first entirely new life-forms created out of living cells.

These ‘living robots’ were created by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that can be programmed to work as people wish. The new creatures were designed using a supercomputer and then built by biologists. 

These are “entirely new life-forms,” according to the University of Vermont, which conducted the research with Tufts University.

The robots, which are less than 1mm long, could be used in a variety of ways; for example, tiny ‘xenobots’, as they are called, could be inserted into a person’s body to give medicine or they could clean up pollution from the oceans.

The scientists say that the robots can also heal themselves if they are damaged. Once their task is done they fall apart, just as natural organisms decay when they die.

The team described the major breakthrough in a paper published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’.